[NOTE: So I wrote the following really late one night. I was up thinking about body image and playing with the idea of it being this huge double-edged sword (wow….real profound, Chelsea). And while I know everyone knows how pervasive poor body image is, particularly in our culture, I think it’s important that we see both sides since both sides suffer. I tried to give this piece a dual voice….I hope I sort of succeeded. Feel free to message me or comment with ideas/edits/add-ons. I also wanted it to have sort of a poetic tone so that it could (theoretically) be read out loud and flow well. I don’t know about all that…but regardless, here it is. These are ALL feelings that I have grappled with and some that I still do. It’s a painful poem. Sorry for the super heavy post this week but I kind of like it and want some feedback. ]
I wonder if everyone has that moment where they look in the mirror, after suffering another rejection or dismissal from a crush, and face just debilitating hate for everything looking back at them.
Whether your thighs are cellulite-y and too fat or spindly and too bony, they’re gross.
Whether your stomach looks like a topographic map from the stretch marks or your jutting hipbones are the only curves on your body, it’s gross.
Whether your naked breasts are absent of all shape, or they exist purely because the fat has nowhere else to go, it’s gross.
…So you buy “shapewear”, “padding,” “extra-support” and “waist-trimmers” to improve what diet and exercise can’t, because trust me, you’ve tried.
You’ve thrown up your meals and ran miles to add a feminine physique. You’ve eaten protein shakes and 3000 calories to create feminine softness.
You’ve lost the sparkle in your eyes and the shine in your hair, starving yourself.
You’ve lost the spring in your step and exhausted your body gorging yourself.
You’ve faced rejections wrapped with a bow and delivered as compliments…
“We’re just such good friends!”
“You’re just too cool to date- I wouldn’t want to ruin it.”
“You’re too good for me!”
And you face insults thrown into your face like trash.
“You’re like a twig…you need a cheeseburger.”
“You look like a beached whale.”
“Ew, I can see all your bones.”
So you develop a unique defense mechanism of anticipating the jokes and making them before anyone else. You become a caricature of yourself and participate in self-deprecation to show how “funny” and “cool” you are.
You make excuses for men who reject you for superficial reasons versus those of merit.
You study Youtube tutorials and paint your face in hopes of transforming it.
You are constantly, always, always…always aware of how to sit and stand, to hide what you hate and show what you don’t.
You stand on a scale and cry.
You try on clothes and cry.
You look at yourself and cry.
You cry. You cry. You cry.